There was no shortage of good things happening this week, and not just over a thousand children rightfully returned to their parents, but progress and new information on the Russia front (which I am not covering since I want to stay focused on what we can do as a citizens and it gets plenty of press coverage) and some positive polling for Democrats. We are now one hundred days until the November elections and it is crunch time to get people registered to vote, inspired to vote, and supporting candidates who will fight for equality, justice, health care, immigrants, a tax and spend plan that works for all people and not just the 1%, and so much more. If this blog inspires you, please take a moment to subscribe to receive the weekly list by email and like this week’s post to help me spread the good news. Some highlights for his week are;
- #StopICE The Philadelphia Mayor announced he is letting a contract with ICE expire and the city will stop giving ICE access to a real-time arrest database after activists fought hard to demand this change.
- #LivingWage Seattle passed a Domestic Workers’ Bill of Rights that requires all domestic workers be paid at least the equivalent to Seattle’s minimum wage, be given time off and breaks, and prohibits employers from retaining workers’ personal documents.
- #ClimateChangeIsReal The EPA announced it would reverse Pruitt’s decision to stop enforcing air emission standards for heavy-duty trucks under the Clean Air Act after a federal court blocked the decision in lawsuits brought by the Environmental Defense Fund, 16 states and D.C.
- #RightToVote A U.S. District Judge ruled that Florida’s ban on early voting sites on college campuses was unconstitutional and that it appeared to be done to stop younger voters from casting ballots.
- #EqualityForAll Washington Attorney General announced that Facebook agreed to make significant changes to its advertising platform by removing the ability of third-party advertisers to exclude ethnic and religious minorities, immigrants, LGBTQ individuals and other protected groups from seeing their ads and will have nationwide impact for its platform.
🧕🏻 CITIES, STATES, AND CORPORATIONS STOOD UP FOR IMMIGRANTS with the Orlando City Council passing the ‘Fair Treatment for All Trust Act Policy’ that prohibits police from asking residents about their immigration status when they are victims or witnesses to a crime or during routine interactions with police. The New York Gov. pardoned seven people who are facing deportation for previous “minor criminal convictions.” United Airlines is donating flights to help reunite immigrant families. #FamiliesBelongTogether
JUDGES PROTECTED IMMIGRANTS thanks to a federal judge appointing a special monitor to oversee conditions for detained migrant children following claims of inhumane treatment in the Customs and Border Protection detention facilities in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. Another federal judge has permanently blocked the imposition of immigration related conditions on criminal justice grants to Chicago and said he will expand that decision to other jurisdictions. That judge also called the underlying law that the administration has pointed to as justifying its efforts unconstitutional citing the Supreme Court’s recent decision that the federal government cannot prohibit states from passing laws they choose. The undocumented immigrant arrested by ICE and detained for months after he delivered a pizza to a Brooklyn army base was ordered released from custody and his deportation was temporarily halted by a federal judge.
WORKING TO HELP IMMIGRANTS THROUGH NEW LAWSUITS the Border Network for Human Rights and the Southwest Environmental Center is challenging the administration’s zero tolerance immigration policy based on the Administrative Procedure Act which requires notice and public comment before any government agency adopts a major new policy.” ACLU is suing New Jersey school districts for requesting information that is a barrier to enrollment of immigrants and Teller Colorado to stop them from holding immigrants on ICE detainer requests because they lack legal authority to do so. The SPLC sued ICE and the U.S. Customs and Border Protection for failure to provide documents pursuant detailing the way in which it arrests and detain immigrants through Florida sheriffs and on interstate buses and at bus stops.
ADVOCATES STOOD UP FOR IMMIGRANTS Children sat in at the Hart Senate building to stand up for immigrant families with Moms Rising and Young people showed up to protest ICE in the rain. Inmates at the Bristol County House of Corrections went on a hunger strike in solidarity with ICE detainees. RAICES is helping to post bond for immigrants. An amazing Swedish woman single handedly stopped a plane deporting an immigrant. Constituents of Rep. Steve Stivers protested at the congressman’s office to draw attention to the continued separation of immigrant families at the U.S. southern border. Protesters from Rise and Resist were arrested stopping traffic on 5th Ave in NYC to demand family reunification. Massachusetts activists demanded their state stand up for immigrants. #WeAreAllImmigrants
⚖️ The NAACP won a legal hurdle in their FIGHT FOR ECONOMIC AND SOCIAL JUSTICE when a federal appeals court allowed their lawsuit to move forward challenging an Alabama law prohibiting local governments from mandating pay or benefits for workers finding that it was plausible that racially discriminatory motivations were at play in passing it. California’s Supreme Court ruled that employers must pay workers for the time they spend completing off-the-clock tasks, such as locking up after work. Disney agreed to raise starting hourly wages to $15 an hour beginning next year and immediately raise pay 20% to $13.25 as part of union negotiations for 10,000 Disneyland workers. #FightFor15
On other notes of interest, The administration is resuming a program that pays billions of dollars to health insurers, just weeks after abruptly suspending the payments. A federal appeals court ruled that public prayers may not be held during school board meetings. New Zealand passed a law providing victims of domestic violence 10 days of paid leave, and allow them to leave their partners, find new homes and protect their children.
👨🏿⚖ The ACLU launched the ‘Campaign for Smart Justice” working to SEEK RACIAL AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE in Allegheny County, with the goal of reducing mass incarceration by engaging local activists and organizations in promoting “smart justice” policies. #SmartJusticePA Court Watch NYC, a group that prepares people to attend and publicly report on court proceedings to highlight injustices and hold local District Attorneys accountable got a boost with an article on their work in a local paper. New Jersey Attorney General asked municipal prosecutors across the state to adjourn all marijuana offenses until Sept. 4 to allow his office time to develop “appropriate guidance” for handling such cases, with the eye to reform.
🌎 Environment Texas and the Sierra Club are helping to SAVE THE ENVIRONMENT in Texas by suing Pasadena Refining Services Inc. for violating Texas clean air and water law, leading to a settlement where they agree to institute programs and upgrades to reduce pollution and pay $3.5 million in civil penalties. Disney is eliminating single-use plastic straws and plastic stirrers at all its owned and operated locations across the globe by mid-2019. #ThereIsNoPlanB Mongolia began installing devices designed to remove diesel particulate matter on public buses in its capital with a grant from Japan.
🗽BECAUSE MONUMENTS AND NAMES MATTER to those that see them, Shreveport Louisiana will be allowed to remove a confederate monument outside a parish courthouse now that a federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to keep the statue the city voted to remove. Lakeland Florida received permission final approval from a local preservation committee to relocate a confederate monument from a central city park to a Veterans Park. Vendors at the Delaware State Fair were ordered to remove Confederate flags and items adorned with it, since the state prohibited them at the fair two years ago. The Chicago City Council renamed Congress Parkway to Ida B. Wells Drive making it the first downtown street named for a woman of color and honoring one of the city’s great journalists and activists fighting lynching and for women’s right to vote. #TakeThemDown
🕬 GUN REFORM happened in Michigan with the Michigan Supreme Court deciding that school districts may prohibit guests on campus from carrying firearms, in a case challenging the Ann Arbor and Clio school districts banned all guns from campus, regardless of whether the person had a permit. #MarchforOurLives ‘Road to Change’ has made it to Tallahassee.
🏳️🌈LGBTQ RIGHTS took a step forward when a federal judge ruled that allowing a transgender high school student in an Oregon school district to use the locker room and restroom that corresponds to their gender identity doesn’t violate the privacy rights of other students who object to sharing the spaces and threw out the lawsuit by Parents for Privacy. Delaware Gov. signed a law banning “gay conversion therapy” on minors.
🤰🏽WOMEN’S RIGHTS held firm when a federal appeals court upheld a ban on an Indiana law that forced woman to undergo an ultrasound 18 hours before an abortion. While mostly symbolic since abortion is legal in the state, it was an important moment for women when the Massachusetts legislature passed a bill formally repealing the state’s 173-year-old law against “procuring a miscarriage. #RightToChoose Utah and Idaho passed laws to protect nursing mothers who need to breastfeed in public, making them the last two states to do so. #BreastIsBest
🕫🗳️VOTERS WILL BE ABLE TO VOTE AND BE COUNTED now that an Iowa district court judge ruled parts of a 2017 voter I.D. law unconstitutional and restored the absentee early voting period from 29 days to 40 days and blocks certain ID requirements and advertising that voter id is needed to vote. California passed a law requiring all counties to provide free postage for vote-by-mail ballots. A federal judge allowed a lawsuit against the administration to block the addition of a citizenship question on the 2020 Census to proceed.
💸FOLLOWING THE CAMPAIGN MONEY Montana Gov. sued the IRS to block a new policy no longer requiring some non-profits to reveal their donors arguing that it interferes with Montana’s ability to gather data that the state needs in order to administer its tax laws. The New York State Board of Elections demanded that the former caucus of breakaway NY State Senate Democrats who caucused with the Republican party refund up to $1.4 million in contributions they received through an illegal campaign finance alliance.
💓STOPPING THE SPREAD OF HATE AND DISCRIMINATION was the New Jersey 101.5 radio which suspended hosts Dennis Malloy and Judi Franco over the duo’s derogatory comments about state the Attorney General. After the Daily Caller doxxed the founder of the activists group Sleeping Giants, the publicity lead to them adding 11,000 members to their community, over 20 more advertisers left Breitbart and they landed on the front page of the NY Times business section.
SOME HATERS GONE THIS WEEK ARE Georgia state Rep. Jason Spencer, who dropped his pants and yelled racial slurs on camera in an episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s show Who Is America? resigned resigned from the legislature. Ximena Barreto, a deputy director of communications at the Dept of Health and Human Services, resigned after it was discovered she spread conspiracies and made anti-Muslim comments. A Dollar General manager was fired after he called the police on a black woman trying to use coupons and what may have been racist comments.
👩🎓BREAKING BARRIERS Land O’Lakes announced that Beth Ford would be taking on the role of president and CEO, becoming the first openly gay, female CEO of a Fortune 500 company. William G. Gross was named Boston’s first African-American police commissioner.
🙂 ANTI-CORRUPTION LAWSUIT ROUNDUP A federal judge ruled that Maryland and the District of Columbia can proceed with their lawsuit accusing the profiteer-in-chief of unconstitutionally accepting payments from foreign and state interests through his Washington hotel in violation of the Emoluments Clause. U.S. District Court Judge ruled that a Federal Records Act lawsuit brought by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington and Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility alleging that the EPA and Scott Pruitt violated federal records laws by systematically failing to create and maintain documents of essential agency activities can proceed.
⛼ANOTHER ONE BITES THE DUST this week but it wasn’t just people, it was Ivanka’s clothing line. Publicly she says it was to avoid the appearance of profiting from her father but at least one magazine says it was also partially from a widespread boycott of her brand.
✐ SOME CREATIVE ACTIVISM INCLUDES Lady liberty in Maine fighting corruption. BLM Chicago is stocking boxes with free food. #OccupyLafayettePark is still going strong and celebrating shark week. Even Rolling Stone magazine thought the voter registration drive at San Diego Comic Con was one of the best things there. Make the Road by Walking is protest at home of JP Morgan CEO for financing private prisons. Indivisible Chicago held a great postcard writing party and Indivisible BK held a text banking party for Beto O’rourke. Rosemary reminds us activists were successful 43 years ago and we can do it again. Indivisible Petaluma used overpasses to spread their message to support immigrant families. An activist put up a new billboard in Colorado displaying the word “GOP,” but replacing the “O” with a Soviet-era hammer and sickle.
😁 JUST FYI NEWS I have repeatedly stated that I do not condone criminal activities but someone did smash the groper-in-chief’s Hollywood star, that person was bailed out of jail by the last person to destroy the star and the smashed star is now being guarded by two people dressed as Russian Officers. Oh, and activists are trying to get the liquor license for Trump DC hotel revoked for bad moral character.